Nomar's Elbow To Heal Soon

FORT MYERS, Fla.--Nomar Garciaparra's ailing right elbow should heal completely and he should resume playing shortstop soon for the Boston Red Sox, the team's doctor said yesterday.

"Don't panic," Dr. Arthur Pappas said. "I think Nomar will be fine and we'll have him back in the lineup and he'll play the way he always plays, very well."

Garciaparra, the 1997 AL rookie of the year, hasn't played shortstop in the team's last 11 exhibition games, although he has been a designated hitter in some of them.

He had left the team for the West Coast, where he had an MRI and was examined on Monday by Dr. Tony Daly, team doctor for the Los Angels Clippers of the NBA. On Tuesday, he was examined by Anaheim Angels physician Lewis Yocum, who spoke with Pappas.

"The main ligament on the inside of the elbow seemed perfectly fine," Pappas said before Wednesday night's game with the Minnesota Twins in which Garciaparra wasn't expected to play. "One of the muscles coming from the area has a little inflammation and I expect that will quiet down.


"I anticipate Nomar will be back playing in the not too distant future, playing shortstop."

The injury isn't expected to keep Garciaparra out of the opening-day lineup April 5 in Kansas City. Pappas said he didn't expect the injury to be a chronic problem.